Determining and calculating alimony in California
Most of the time, a California divorce focuses on these three family law issues: property division, child custody and child support. Besides these, divorcing couples should also address the issue of spousal support or alimony.
When a couple wishes to dissolve its marriage, the court can obligate one of the spouses to make monthly payments to financially support the other party. This support is called “alimony, spousal support or spousal maintenance” under family law in some states. Spousal support is not limited to married couples; in California, domestic partners can be ordered to pay it as well.
In the event of divorce or separation, one party may ask the court to grant spousal support. Alimony laws were established in California to alleviate the unfair economic effect of divorce to a lower-wage earning spouse or the non-wage earning spouse. Spouses who gave up their careers to take care of children and the household are those who usually ask the court to grant alimony.
The amount of alimony can be determined through several factors. These factors are age, health and capacity of each party to be self-sufficient, basic needs and financial expenses based on the standard of living during marriage and length of the marriage. The contribution of each spouse in the marriage is also considered. For example, if one spouse helped the other by paying for their education or training to obtain a professional license or a higher paying job, that contribution would be taken into consideration when determining alimony.
One party can also ask for a temporary spousal support order while the divorce or separation case is ongoing. In most cases, spousal support is ordered once the legal separation or divorce becomes final, as part of the final divorce judgment.
Source: Courts.Ca.gov, “Spousal/Partner Support,” Accessed Oct. 7, 2014